Thursday, December 19, 2019

A Show-Stopping Charcuterie Board + Our Holiday House

Yeeks you guys, we're under one week until Christmas!! Jeff and I decided to both take off some time from work, so we'll both be off starting tomorrow through the New Year. I cannot wait. We've got a ton of family time planned, as well as two day dates for Jeff and I, and a whole lot of seeing the holidays through Mia's eyes. It's so cute, she loves the decorations and is amazed every time we turn on our tree in the morning. I'm glad though that she's not fully mobile (just starting to figure out crawling over here, but we're very slow) because she is trying her hardest to rip every ornament off of the tree whenever we bring her near it!

So anyway, last weekend we hosted our annual White Elephant party with our friends. Whenever I host a party, I decide where to focus my energy. You can't go all-in on every thing or you'll go crazy. I was making two lasagnas from scratch as well as a champagne punch, so I decided instead of making something for snacks I'd just go for an epic cheese board instead.

How to make a show-stopping charcuterie board

If you're looking to take your charcuterie board to the next level, first think about presentation. In the past, I've just put everything on a big cutting board or tray. To take things up a notch, I pulled out the chalkboard placemats we got as a wedding gift and laid them end to end so that the cheese board could span the length of our whole dining room table. It really made a statement when people came in, and then obviously was fun to eat too! I liked the chalkboard placemats because they're hard so I didn't worry about people messing up my table with the cheese knifes. But, if you pre-cut all of your cheese you could get a similar effect with butcher paper.

My main tip when going for a cheese board is that more is more! Don't leave a ton of empty space, and instead try to fill in the nooks and crannies with additional goodies. I went into our fridge when I had some space to fill, and found some berries to add (sorry Mia, those were defs supposed to be for you!) as well as condiments. If your board ends up being too big for your party, don't worry about it because everything can be saved really easily. We did have leftovers from this, so I just bagged up everything when we were done - it made another great snack the next day!

And then another tip is to not make things look too fancy, so that people will actually eat from the board instead of feeling like they shouldn't mess it up. Cut pieces of cheese ahead of time, sneak a bite out of the dips, and use imperfect piles for crackers and meat.

Since there were kids at our party, I did a lot of my usual fancy cheese board items, but also included some less fancy stuff (see: colby-jack cheese, Ritz crackers, summer sausage) to make it fun for everyone.

Here's what I included on our charcuterie board: 

Sharp White Cheddar
Truffled Brie

Spicy sopressata
Summer sausage

Bruscetta slices
Cheddar Whisps
Ritz Crackers

Whipped Riccotta (I make this for every party. Buy whole milk ricotta and whip it with a lot of salt. Top with good olive oil, more salt, and whatever fresh herbs you have on hand - I did chives here.)
White bean hummus

The Rest: 
Fresh berries
Pomegranate seeds
Candied nuts
Fancy mustard

Usually for holiday boards I include fresh rosemary sprigs too, but I literally saw it on my list at the grocery store and couldn't remember why it was there and didn't buy it. What's wrong with me?! But it's so pretty to add to the board and makes things a little festive.

Our Holiday Decorations

I'm currently in the phase where I'm not loving all of the decorations I bought on the cheap back in the day (some when I moved to Chicago after college, some from as far back as high school!) so I'm slowly trying to work in some more grown up, minimalist decorations. My current motto for all things home is WWJGD (What Would Joanna Gaines Do, obviously) so I was psyched to find the pretty tree candle votive holder at Target. It looked so pretty all lit up with candles!

Obviously a lot of the stuff in our house is old, so I'm linking up what I can for you: 

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